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Teresa Rovira i Comas (Barcelona, 13 December 1918 - 23 September 2014) had two great passions: children's libraries and keeping the memory of her father alive.
Youth and exile
The eldest daughter of the writer, journalist, historian and politician, Antoni Rovira i Virgili, Teresa Rovira was always surrounded by books both at her family home in the district of Horta in Barcelona, and the family's house on the Arrabassada Beach in Tarragona, where she used to spend the summer. When she was 15 years old she entered the School of Librarians. It was June 1936 and she studied throughout the Civil War. As a practical exercise for her course she organized her father's extensive collection using the decimal classification in 1938.
In January 1939, she fled to Perpignan with her family. She graduated in Arts from the University of Montpellier in 1944 and it was not until 1949 that she was able to return to Catalonia to finish her studies to become a librarian. Her husband (she had got married in 1946 to Felip Calvet in Andorra, the only place where the ceremony could be held in Catalan) would not manage to get his passport until 1958. Her parents never returned and died in France.
An innovative librarian specializing in children
When she completed her studies, Teresa Rovira began to work at the Biblioteca Popular in Esparreguera in 1953. At that time, she helped to save the language by finding books written in Catalan that had been hidden in cellars and putting them back in thelibrary's reading rooms. She was one of the first librarians to make children's sections quite distinct from adult sections. She researched into Catalan literature for children and young people and into the organization of school libraries.
She taught at the School for Librarianship was the director of the People's Library of Santa Pau (1971-1981) and was head of the network of Libraries of the Barcelona Provincial Council (1981-1983). Of the many awards that she won, of particular merit is the Cross of Saint George (2002). Since 2013, the Catalan Government's Library Service awards a "prize for innovation in the public libraries" which bears her name.
Recovering the memory of Antoni Rovira i Virgili
For more than 40 years she fought to recover her father's documents that had been confiscated and taken to Salamanca. When she found out where they were in 1969, she initiated the procedure for them to be returned. There were constant obstacles to be overcome. The so-called "return of the papers of Salamanca" restored to owners only what they could prove had been theirs. In Rovira i Virgili's case, Teresa was able to claim some books that had been dedicated to her and all those that she had had classified using the hand-written decimal system when she did a practical exercise in 1938.
Aloy, J. M. (1998). L’Origen i la història de la biblioteca infantil catalana: conversa amb Aurora Díaz-Plaja, Teresa Rovira i Concepció Carreras. Faristol, (31), 18–27.
Entrevista a Teresa Rovira [Arxiu de video]. Recuperat de: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhTthdAUfd8&feature=youtu.be
Marimon, S. (19 febrer 2015). Els néts i besnéts dels propietaris recuperen alguns dels documents segrestats a Salamanca des de fa 76 anys. Ara.
Martín, L. (2004). El subtil teixit de la polidesa: entrevista a Teresa Rovira. Escola Catalana,(409), 32–40.
Revista de Catalunya: homenatge a Teresa Rovira. (2014). Barcelona: Fundació Revista de Catalunya.
Roig, J.M. (23 setembre 2014). Teresa Rovira: “He estat tan feliç fent de bibliotecària”. Núvol: el digital de cultura.
Click here for a list of texts written by Teresa Rovira i Comas
The Bequest of Teresa Rovira i Comas consists of more than 200 documents about the figure of Antoni Rovira i Virgili, journalist, writer, philologist, historian, ideologist and nationalist politician who was born in Tarragona, fled into exile in January 1939 and died in Perpignan in 1949 while he was the president of the Catalan Parliament in exile.
BOOKS BY ANTONI ROVIRA I VIRGILI
BOOKS ABOUT ANTONI ROVIRA I VIRGILI